BPC basketball teams take to new center with 2-day classic

By Terry Gaston

MT. VERNON -- Brewton-Parker College men's basketball coach Steve Barker has waited for Friday night for more than 12 years.

"I was told when I interviewed for the job that we would have a new facility in three years," said Barker, who finally saw the long promises and dreams of the college's Student Activities Center come to fruition with its opening in October.

On Friday night, Barker leads the Barons onto the new center's court for the first time, as will third-year Lady Barons coach Tommy Dalley with his team, in first-night action of the Tip-Off Classic.

Brewton-Parker will play Morris College (S.C.) on Friday, with the women's game at 6 p.m. and the men's contest at 8 p.m.

The Lady Barons' game is their season opener, while the Barons opened the campaign at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., on Tuesday.

Barker, who is also the athletic director, and the other Brewton-Parker coaches moved into their offices at the Student Activities Center in early October, and the Lady Barons volleyball team has played several matches in the facility since it opened Oct. 1.

"I am more proud than anything," Barker said of seeing the facility opened after patrolling the bench the past 12 years in the cozier Parker Gymnasium. "It's all about our entire athletic department, not just the basketball program.

"It has given me a whole new outlook on my job and my attitude. We had a lot of great memories and great wins in Parker Gym, but the new Student Activities center is going to enable us to recruit and attract a better quality of student-athlete.

"The compliments we have received so far from community people and alumni have been just overwhelming. I really thank the president (Dr. David Smith) and administration for their vision to have this project completed."

The classic opens Friday afternoon at 2, with the women's teams from North Georgia College and State University and Webber International University (Fla.) followed by those schools' men's squads playing at 4.

Brewton-Parker and Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference rival North Georgia will then swap opponents for Saturday's games, which will begin at noon.

North Georgia and Morris play the women's game at noon and the men's contest at 2 p.m., with the Lady Barons playing Webber at 4 p.m. and the Barons facing Webber at 6 p.m.

Brewton-Parker then plays host to Allen University (S.C.) on Monday, Nov. 11, in a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. with the women's game.

After that twin bill, both BPC teams will be on the road until the Lady Barons play Voorhees College (S.C.) at the Student Activities Center on Dec. 3. The Barons' next home game will be on the first night of the Dec.13-14 Brewton-Parker Christmas Shoot-Out.